Best and quietest places to study on campus

Throughout your time at RIT, you will be searching for quiet and private places to study and complete your projects. I mean, let’s be honest, when it comes to studies the majority of us tend to get distracted a lot. Also, I don’t want some random guy to stare at my computer in a cafe and come to the conclusion that I am pitiful at coding, I mean that’s what I have my TAs and graders for. So, therefore, during my first two semesters at RIT, I went on a hunt to find the quieter and calmer places on campus for a proper study session.

You might wonder, “Wait! Hold up their sparky! Isn’t the library exactly the place for this ?”. Well, the first and second floors of the library are kind of noisier because they are meant for discussion and group studies. Although the third and fourth floors are designated quiet floors, they get filled up very fast and if you are looking for a private place and quiet place to immerse yourself in studies or complete your assignments with the least distractions, you would need to get a spot in the library very early in the mornings. Also with the rumors that the fourth floor of the library is going to be converted into an office, the traffic on the third floor might increase significantly. As someone who is always on the hunt for quieter and warmer places to study at RIT, I bring to you my top 5 picks on the same:

  1. Third and Fourth floors of Wallace Library: I know, I know! After just stating that the library sees a lot of traffic, I post it as my first pick. You might call me a hypocrite, but come on, it’s called a library for godsakes, it has to be somewhere in the picks. Here’s the deal, if you are going to spending long hours, the third and at least temporarily, the fourth floors are the best places to be. The hardest part of using the third and fourth floor is not the noise level but is about getting your spot. My advice would be to go to the third floor at least an hour before lunchtime. I usually prefer the north wing of the third floor that faces Gleason Circle. It’s the least distractive, and the most spacious. Also, the best part is that the library has rollable couches, which you can just drag your and get comfy. There is an unsaid rule about the quiet floors of the library, people would try their not to sit on a table if it’s already occupied. This means, if you get a table, you are most likely to get the entire table for yourself, at least for the majority of the time.  The fourth floor is, even more, quieter than the third but is less spacious. You can, of course, book a study room, but they have time limits and therefore, not suited for long hours.  Another understood law of the library is that the more floors you climb, the quieter it gets.

    North Wing, 3rd Floor of Wallace Library

  2.  Golisano Institute for Sustainability: Ah yes! The best building at RIT in terms of aesthetics: modern look, orange tinge, huge building, but you what’s even better? You could barely find more than 20 people in the whole building for the most part of the day. Looking for a quiet place to do a phone interview? This building is a godsend for that. Unlike the third and fourth floors of the library, where you would need to minimize your talks, this place offers a huge advantage. You can talk more freely and it’s always quiet, sometimes so quiet that you might hear echoes. Also, not to forget the beautiful terrace garden.

    The spacious Sustainability building, RIT

  3. Crossroads after 8 pm: This is my favorite place at this moment. I, sometimes, prefer it more than the library. It has that mild music in the background, food, very spacious, open till and after 7 PM, one of the most peaceful environments on campus to complete your assignments. It’s crazy because it’s actually very spacious and you would not find a place to even sit during lunch time as it will be packed with people, but it gradually gets better as we move towards evening.  Love it especially because you can grab a bite anytime you want.

    Crossroads at night

  4. Institute Hall: Another place close to the sustainability building. Haven’t spent a huge amount of time over here. The third floor is the quietest. I found the place completely by accident, one of my seniors told me to go to the sustainability building to study, though this place was the building, got lost, which was quite embarrassing considering the fact that I was with my crush and half the building was made of glass and literally, transparent and eventually got to the third floor only to find out the next day that it wasn’t the sustainability building.
  5. Lounge at the James E. Booth building: To be honest, the entire building 7 which is made of Booth 7B and Gannet 7A are calm places most of the days. I haven’t personally spent a lot of time in either of these places but was recommended by a senior. I used to go there for the chess club and sometimes found it to be eerily quiet.

Now, there are more places on campus like the Orange Hall which also have lower decibel levels, but I haven’t had sufficient experience with these places to recommend them. Also, there places in the SAU and GCCIS, but they are pretty inconsistent because of the possibility of university events occurring at these places. I don’t want you to plan a study session over there only to find out that it’s packed with people at which point you decide to add me to your hit list (too much movie nights for me).

Bonus: Looking for a place to nap? Fear not, the student government has got you covered, with an exclusive map which also gives you a measurement of quietness. You could convert these places to study as well, but the one problem is that some of these places have a lower number of ports or a higher number of students snoring.

Now, all the places mentioned above are from my own experience. If you believe, they are not as quiet as I mentioned, I recommend the below solution:

 

A Taste of Italy

Growing up in New York City, I didn’t have a Wegmans or a Walmart growing up. Places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods didn’t explode in popularity until the last ten years or so, and for many, those places were too expensive to shop anyways. I became used to

It was a beautiful day for some cannolis!

relying on corner stores and small markets for staple goods but also for things that are new and exciting. I never thought I would find something like that out of New York City, especially in the Rochester area, but I was wrong. Rubino’s Italian Market is everything and more. They have everything you are looking for, there it be ingredients or meals. They have imported dry goods like pasta and risotto, and my wife was marveling at the olive oil selection like a kid in a candy store. I felt the same way as her once we got to the bakery section. Rainbow cookies, sfingi, and cannoli all under one roof? It’s a no brainer. And I’m still basking in the beauty of their “cannoli cookie sandwich” which is sweet cannoli cream in between two chocolate chip cookies. I’ll take ten, please. If you’re trying to cook an old school Italian meal, this is the place to go. Or, if you don’t feel like cooking, but you want to eat an old school Italian meal, you’ve also come to the right place! They have a full selection of hot foods like pasta, chicken dishes, arancini, and roasted vegetables. Their hot items are available for purchase as a meal, and they also sell cold versions packaged up to be heated at home. Rubino’s is a small space (when you consider everything they have in there!) but they have filled it to the brim with a wide variety of foods. They have specialty sausages which are Rochester-renowned; a rotating selection changes based on seasons and right now they have a lamb sausage available. There’s also a regular meat counter where you can get cuts of beef, chicken, and other proteins. There’s a separate deli meat counter where you can order cold cuts and cold salads, like tortellini salad, a variety of pasta salads, and their selection of imported olives is more impressive than Wegman’s. If you want a deli sandwich, they have those too, they even have their own version of a garbage plate sub. Part of the charm of going to those little corner stores were the personalities working there, and at Rubino’s it’s no different. The family-owned business has many employees in the store that have been working there across generations, and their knowledge and their kindness know no limits. If you’re looking for an Italian product, it would be surprising if Rubino’s didn’t have it. Their selection and service are a rarity nowadays, and I have no doubt that I will continue going with my family for years to come.

The Idealab experience

IdeaLab is a program available to all graduate students, is designed to connect problems and challenges with technical and creative problem solvers from all over the RIT Community. The teams are formed by enthusiastic innovative-thinker students from multidisciplinary expertise (technology, engineering, science, computing, design, business and communications) to solve unique problems faced by organizations or institutions such as Al Sigl Community of Agencies, Rochester Regional Health and others.

The students spend one weekend designing innovative solutions for specific problems identified by the participating organizations. Each team works under the guidance of an RIT faculty member, as a coach, and a sponsoring administrator. Design Thinking is the core tool highly encourage by the coaches in the event to be use to solve the problems. As we know, Design thinking is a powerful resource to be able to came up with innovative solutions. The main purpose of the event is to give the students the practice that they need before graduation and help them to understand the importance of developing ideas that are appropriate for the target market, that are feasible with the technology available and that ultimately solve the problem successfully and effectively. At the end of the event (Sunday afternoon), the teams present their innovative approaches for the project to their sponsor.

IDEALAB Spring 2019

This event happens every semester at the RIT Innovation Center and it was created by Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.This next fall, pay close attention to your email account and look for the invitation to participate to this event. Idealab is a unique and valuable opportunity for students to gain experience, to work in teams with people from other disciplines than their own and to put their knowledge to work on concrete real-life problem with a real-life client. Successful projects may then be expanded into ongoing student research projects that develop product and service prototypes, and potentially new businesses. After the presentation day, the project sponsor evaluates and decides which project is the one to be moving forward. Also, students could take classes and get credits for them on their colleges. As well as the sponsor could recruit some students for coops to continue with the projects.

In previous IdeaLab events, students have employed their conceptual solutions, prototypes, and interaction with real outside sponsors to develop their portfolios, resumes and applications to graduate schools. Some projects have gone on to earn course credit in Applied Entrepreneurship and learn their potential to become a start-up business.

https://www.rit.edu/affiliate/rrh/idealab

source: https://www.rit.edu/research/simonecenter/idealab

Housing Options and Shuttle Services for Graduate Students

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Science and Technologies MS student

One of the most integral parts of the graduate experience is finding the correct housing; from trying to cut on expenses to having more freedom and privacy, there are a lot of on as well as off-campus housing options available to the graduate student at the university that works for almost every student’s needs. I have talked about the various housing options and the shuttle service associated with that community in this blog.

Let’s get right into discovering these options:

 Perkins Green and Riverknoll

Owned by RIT, on the eastern edge of campus, Perkins Green is just a few minutes from the residence halls, academic buildings, Gracies and The Commons.  Apartment residents enjoy other community benefits such as volleyball courts, barbecue, and picnic areas.

Riverknoll is located on the west side of campus just minutes from the academic buildings and academic computer labs.

There’s a shuttle dedicated that runs on a definite route solely for Perkins as well as Riverknoll that houses a majority of the undergraduate as well as graduate students. The best thing about Perkins is that the apartments are being completely furnished for the coming Fall 2019 semester.

Perkins offers one bedroom as well as two-bedroom apartments whereas Riverknoll offers one, two and three bedroom apartments and townhomes(unfurnished). To find out more about the amenities and pricing at Perkins and Riverknoll and to have a look at virtual rooms, visit these links:

https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/perkins-green

https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/riverknoll

 Park Point and The Province

The most famous destinations for graduate students have to be Park Point and The Province. With campus proximity and furnished houses, these communities provide flexible lease options to undergraduate as well as graduate students who prefer commuting to the college on a regular basis. The best part about living in these communities is that both of them have their own shuttles running all day!

Surrounded by restaurants, gym, clubs, bookstore, state-of-the-art recreation centers, swimming pool, hot tubs, volleyball and basketball courts etc., Park Point and The Province have several more facilities like flexible floor and lease plans, roommate matching services, numerous community events, technology facilities, smooth application process and 24-hour service staff.

For more information on Park Point and The Province, visit these links: https://www.americancampus.com/student-apartments/ny/rochester/park-point#faq

https://www.americancampus.com/student-apartments/ny/rochester/the-province

Rustic Village and Brighton Village Apartments

For students who prefer their privacy away from the campus and are looking for cheap housing options, these communities serve their requirements pretty efficiently. These properties are situated within almost 3-4 miles to the RIT campus; this makes walking to campus tedious, however, there is a direct shuttle (MCC Annex) dedicated completely for these communities. Located in Brighton, these communities offer close proximity to various prime locations in Rochester (UofR, RIT, MCC, Strong Memorial Hospital, etc) and have various cheap apartment-style options for students. For more information about them, visit these links: http://rusticvillageapartments.com/RochesterRegion/RusticVillage.aspx

https://www.apartments.com/brighton-village-rochester-ny/jw364k4/

(The Brighton Village apartments were primarily known as the Crittenden Way apartments)

Global Village

The newest residence complexes situated in one of the best parts of the campus is Global Village. Global Village provides upper-class students with a global living experience and community. Global Village prepares students to enter the culturally diverse and changing workforce through unique activities, and a worldly living environment.

In addition to suite and studio style housing with lounges, community kitchens, meeting spaces, and laundry rooms, the complex also features a number of services just a few feet away. These services include the Global Village Post Office, Global Village Cantina and Grille, The Market at Global Village, Shear Global Hair Salon, and Shop One Fine Art & Craft Gallery. Also featured are a beach volleyball court and a mixed-use plaza offering year-round activities with heated outdoor seating, a small stage area for concerts and student programming, fire pit, and water feature.

For more information, visit here: https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/global-village?show_desktop_mode=true

RIT Inn and Conference Center

The RIT Inn & Conference Center offers upper-class students a premium living experience.  The RIT Inn is located off campus proper at 5257 West Henrietta Road. These fully-furnished state of the art center provides premium style apartments and bedrooms that are gender inclusive and equipped with wireless access, standard cable and TigerTV, ethernet jacks, fitness center, indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, telephone service, business center, dining facility and state of the art lounges. The center has a shuttle dedicated solely for this area called the RIT Inn.

For more information about the Inn, visit this link: https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/rit-inn-conference-center?show_desktop_mode=true

River Meadows

The River Meadow Dr. is situated along the boundaries of Rush-Henrietta Central School District which is approximately a mile away from the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. River Meadow is situated right along the lines of the University Commons and provides great options for students who are looking for renting their own partially furnished four-bedroom houses. Although RIT runs no shuttle service for this community, its proximity to campus and cheap housing options makes it a favorite for some students.

To find apartments on the River Meadow Dr. you can visit this link:  https://hotpads.com/79-river-meadow-dr-rochester-ny-14623-smp6qe/pad

University Commons

University Commons is located on the west side of campus the newest complex is just minutes from the heart of campus. Suite-style housing offers students their own private sleep room accompanied by a common living room, kitchen, and two full bathrooms. Situated right alongside the Global Village you can walk to class through the UC without any hassle. There is also a shuttle dedicated to the UC and several other residential complexes on the campus called the B-Lot Campus Shuttle that takes you all around the campus.

For more information, visit here: https://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/housing-option/university-commons?show_desktop_mode=true

 

To find out more information about the bus schedule and the shuttle service, visit this link: https://www.rit.edu/fa/parking/transportation/bus 

 

 

 

 

A New York Slice in Rochester!

After you grow up in New York City, you have different standards for pizza. That’s just a fact. As a result of this, maybe our expectations are a little too high when it comes to getting a decent slice beyond a 646 area code. Let’s be real for a second. Those who grew up in New York City are more pizza crazy than actual Italians…even if you meet someone currently living in Italy, they won’t be as concerned about pizza as New Yorkers. And with so many pizza places in Rochester, how can you be sure that you’re making the right choice? Lucky for you, I found a really consistent pizza chain and it doesn’t require driving on the Long Island Expressway to get it.

Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza has not one but three locations in Henrietta, Perinton, and Brighton. And they deliver. But that’s not all. They have an online ordering system set

A pie from Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza!

up where you can do everything electronically without even having to pick up the phone. I love how convenient they are- many small pizza places are phone order only, and it’s not always easy to pick up the phone.

Let’s talk taste. You know it’s got that thin crust. Thin but not too chewy, there’s still a nice crunch when you bite into it and even browning with the bottom crust. The cheese is layered on the dough perfectly and is not overly cheesy at all. I would say that Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza is the closest to New York City style pizza that I’ve had so far in Rochester.

However, another pizza place that’s worth checking out is Salvatore’s. The pizza is very good and they make pizza pies as well as sheet pan pizza (which you’ll probably encounter at some during your time at RIT.) There is also a great selection of desserts and if you are fan of donuts like I am then you will LOVE Salvatore’s. They have excellent donuts with all sorts of exciting flavors. And if you’ve never had beef pepperoni before then you have to try it at Salvatore’s. It’s delicious. They also have great wings if you are into that sort of thing.

There are many other pizza places in Rochester but if I had to pick the two that come close a New York City slice of pizza I would recommend these two pizzerias. I know it’s going to be hard going somewhere other than your neighborhood pizza place for some pizza but trust me when I say you’ll feel like you’re back at home after eating pizza from either Joe’s or Salvatore’s.

 

Niagara Falls – The perfect getaway for weekend!

I still remember the first time that I visited Niagara falls back in 2011. I was mesmerized by the size of the falls and its beauty. Those memories of falls made me want to visit falls again when I moved to Rochester for my graduate studies. Niagara falls is approximately an hour and a half drive from Rochester and with it being the largest waterfall in the world, we are fortunate to live this close to it. I have visited the Niagara Falls around four to five times in a semester and I can still go there for many more times. The beauty that the falls holds is beyond anyone’s imagination and being a student we all need a place where we can go and forget about all stress and heavy workload.

Recently, I visited Niagara Falls in mid-March. Although, the best time to visit Niagara falls would be during the summer and fall, this place its own beauty during the winter as well. I had always wanted to see how it is to see such gigantic fall frozen. Fortunately, this time I had an opportunity to visit Niagara in winters and as I expected, the visual that I could see in front of me was unbelievable. It was difficult to stand there in cold breeze but the view was so appealing that even in freezing cold temperature, a large number of tourists were at the Niagara falls.

Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the summer. The falls is in the middle of Canada and the United States. So, on both sides of the falls, we can see the beautiful view of the other side of the falls. In the American side, there is a pretty park when we enter the Niagara Falls. There are flowers and bright green grass which makes the place even more beautiful. Along with the attractions, these are huge souvenir stores where you can find pretty much everything and they all are worth visiting. There are also many places to eat around there. Along with the falls, the Seneca resort and Casino is also one of the main attraction of this place.

Following are the best things to do at the Niagara Falls from the american side,

  • Maid of the Mist boat tour: This is the only boat ride from american falls and the passengers can get a closer look of the falls.

 

 

 

 

  • Cave of the Winds: This allows you to view the falls from the observation platforms and keeps you a little drier. This is the best experience of the American falls. 

 

 

 

  • Niagara Falls state park: This is one of the oldest state park and it gives a beautiful view of the falls and the lush green gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Observation Tower: This extends out from the American side and it is the only place from where both the American and the Canadian Falls can be viewed.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Along with these attractions, there is Niagara fashion outlet very close by. This is the center of attraction for all college students because you can find all brand stores and the prices are very reasonable there.

 

 

 

 

 

All these attractions and beautiful falls makes Niagara Falls the perfect getaway for anyone.

myRITstory- Kaushal Nagar

For this blog post, I decided to cover the RIT story of one of my close friends, Kaushal, who is a true representation of how RIT provides a base for student success with its abundant resources and opportunities through perseverance and discipline. 

Kaushal came to RIT in the fall of 2017 as a Masters student in Computer Engineering from the city of Mumbai and this is what he has to say about his experience at RIT and what he thinks makes the university so special for him.

What did you do for your bachelors back home and when did you decide to pursue your masters?

‘I did my bachelors back in Mumbai in Electronics and Telecommunications. I was intrigued by the concepts of microcontrollers and their functionalities which made me study that more. In due course of time, I was fascinated by the concept of embedded systems and concept of automated remote data acquisition. I dived more into the subject when I started writing a research paper on ‘Automated vehicle surveillance and security’. With a mind fixed to explore the horizons of embedded computing and IoT, I started my application process.’

Why did you decide to come to RIT and what do you love most about it?

‘I decided to come to RIT on account of it’s rich and reputed co-op program coupled with the vast range of subjects offered by the CE department in the domain of embedded systems computing, computer architecture and multiple processor systems. The flexibility and independence to undertake an independent study is something that further excited me to come to RIT. Further, the very idea of being benefited by the guidance of esteemed professors at RIT reinstated my desire to come to RIT.

I like the sense of independence and responsibility that is given to the students when undertaking any course. The flexibility to choose courses as per our interests and the choice to communicate with the professors personally if need be (in regards to course content, approach towards the course, independence while taking the course). The rich co-op program at RIT excites me no bounds.’

Tell me something about what you are doing at RIT?

‘My program is MS in CE. A combination of understanding the hardware and software aspects of various system. My focus is on embedded systems and IoT and real-time computing. I am keenly passionate regarding the interfacing and operations of different softwares (programs) on hardware platforms and their behaviors. This motivated me to take the CE program. The new innovations induced in the h/w-s/w industry due to the advent of IoT makes it all the more interesting to be a part of this field. CE department allows to take courses from multiple disciplines of engineering to hone our skills. I have been taking the Real Time and Embedded Systems course for over a year now. I owe my development in this domain and skills acquired to the amazing professors at RIT.’

Have you done any co-ops while you were here and what are some of your future goals after you graduate from the university?

‘I did my co-op at MKS Instruments, Rochester. I was a part of the Advanced Development Group. I learnt to learn quickly and implement new technology to existing technologies. I learnt to adapt, learn and improve independently. It is a semiconductor industry motivated company. I learned a plethora of new technologies, skills and methodologies there. I had merely heard that engineering these days is cross disciplinary, at MKS, I experienced this and learnt to implement my engineering skills accordingly in a much more robust way. I got to deal with different platforms and OS on board. I took assignments by myself and contributed to the MKS team. I learnt to back myself and take initiative. The technical skills that I acquired at MKS is something that I will always be grateful for. I developed the mentality of an aggressive, multi-disciplinary engineer and learnt to lead by example by taking initiatives. This was an experience of a lifetime for me.

In a few years, I intend to apply my engineering skills developed at RIT at a fortune 100 company by being actively involved in research and development at the institution in the capacity of a technical lead.’

 

Graduate Computer Science: Bridge Courses

I have decided to make this post after a ton of questions regarding the Computer Science Bridge courses. This post is similar to an FAQ about the bridge courses and how to handle them from the point of graduate Computer Science. Now, this post is from a perspective of not just me, but from several graduate computer science students who have done all these courses. Therefore, you can also think this post as a collective testimonial.

Before we get into the common questions I get from students, let me give you a brief introduction about the bridge courses and bridge waiver exams so that you have a complete understanding of them.

Bridge Courses: The graduate bridge courses at the Computer Science Department are provided for students so that they are well prepared and have adequate knowledge to handle the “real” and more difficult graduate level courses. Now, this is my understanding, most of the graduate level courses at the CS department will be difficult, will involve a lot of programming and analysis and a lot of application based approach. You might also have to read a lot of research paper, for that, you will need to adequate understanding of Computer Theory, have a sound foundation in Data Structures and you should be really good at one major programming language. This is what the bridge courses exactly focused on: Foundations of Computer Theory, Advanced Computational Problem Solving, and Advanced Object Oriented Programming.

Bridge Waiver Exam: Now some of you might feel that you are already good all the above, that is the reason the CS department, has a bridge waiver exam so that you have a fair shot at proving that you are already ready for the graduate level courses and do not need to do the bridge courses. The bridge waiver exams cover the exact same things as mentioned above meaning you will have 3 exams in the bridge waiver for each course. Now, you need to get at least a B-grade in all the exams. B is approximately 83, this may change, but this generally a B and this is what you should aim for. Now, some people feel or felt that this is a high cut-off, but you should remember this is also the grade that you will need to pass the course itself. The bridge waiver exam will reflect the coursework. Also, this is a common cut-off throughout the US. The GPA you see everywhere throughout your graduate application requirements, that number 3.0 is equivalent to a grade point average equal to B. Now, I will be honest,  personally, I didn’t take the bridge waiver exam, because I am a 2018 Electrical Engineering pass out and therefore, didn’t have any experience in Computer Science but the consensus from others were that it is difficult to pass the Bridge Waiver exam, because the majority of the exam questions are tricky, with a few them being difficult.

Book for Foundation in Computer Theory

Having done the bridge courses, I would say having a really strong understanding in important Java and OOP concepts like Java Strings, Multi-threading, Networking, Streams, Inheritance, etc. will help you clear the Advanced Object-Oriented Programming exam. I would recommend reading Java Documentation from Oracle for this particular exam. Now for the CSCI-603: Computational Problem Solving, according to me is the easiest of the 3. Having a good foundation in Data Structures and common algorithms like sorting, tree traversal, graph traversals, etc. along with the basics of python will be enough to pass the exam. For the Computer Theory exam, be strong in Automata Theory like designing DFAs and NFAs, Proof Writing, CFGs, Regular expressions, Kleene’s Theorem, Pumping Lemma, CFGs, PDAs, Turing machines. I would recommend reading the “Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser”, sometimes a question will be provided straight out of this book. I have provided a link to all the materials used for the bridge course as well waiver exam at the bottom of the post.

Here are my top ten tips for your bridge courses:

  1. Start off strong, this is very was very important at least for me. I am usually not a very confident guy. It’s usually because whenever I get confident, I jinx myself and everything goes bad, like really bad. So, I checked my course structure, saw most of my courses had the same weight for the midterms and the final. I did well in my assignments, worked hard for my first midterm, and, aced it. This gave me a bit of breathing space and much-needed confidence that I can do well in CS courses considering that was the first CS exam I had ever written
  2.  Target the first midterm, this reiterates my point of starting strong. Doing well in your first midterm will put you on track of getting a good GPA and probably boosting your scholarship or getting a scholarship. Trust me, seeing a good score after your first midterm, will relieve you of your initial jitters. The first midterm will be the easiest of the 3 exams you will have. The concepts will only get tougher as you go forward, you will need to have a buffer so that even if you tend to lose marks down the line, you can still get that magical A grade. I know who didn’t perform well during the first midterm, few of them barely made it and some of them stare retaking the course, even though they did improve in the other exams. In short, target midterm-1, it will be easier, will give you a boost towards a good GPA.
  3.  Do not lose marks in the assignments, this is the golden rule for bridge courses. You will have enough time to plan and do well in your assignments, they carry a good percentage of your marks, they aren’t difficult if you attend classes regularly. I would say not to lose more than 3 marks overall in assignments, ideally not more 1 mark, which is possible. Personally, the only assignments I struggled with where Computer Theory ones. You will have a grading session for every Java Assignment from CSCI-605 where you will have to explain your design to your grader.

    Comp Sci Mentoring Center, 3rd floor of Golisano CSCI Building.

     

  4. Computer Science Mentoring Center: You will find tutors over here where you can who will help you understand the course material. They won’t solve your homework, don’t even try. They will easily know a homework question when they see one. They will clear the doubts regarding homework and point you in the right direction, they will definitely not give you the answer or solve it for you.
  5. Don’t take quizzes lightly, I lost my marks in quizzes, I hate them because I am poor at short-timed tests. At first, it will feel like you have just lost an insignificant portion of your marks until it accumulates and screws your GPA. A lot of my friends, myself included, lost marks in quizzes especially in CSCI-603: Computational Problem Solving. Remember, you need to score 93 and above to get an A and losing 2 marks in Quizzes out of 10 means you cannot lose more than 5 marks in 2 midterms and a final.
  6. Time management: I had previously written a blog post based on time management and its importance in graduate studies. I, personally feel a lot of people who struggled with the coursework weren’t able to properly manage their time. The major difference between those people with the 4.0 GPA and other people, is that they had a proper schedule and were wonderful at time management (you would occasionally see that “All I touch, turn to gold” person, ignore them).
  7. Ask questions, if you have a question ask it in the class. Don’t worry about that super nerd who gives you a condescending stare indirectly saying “That’s so obvious.” Screw him! Hopefully, you won’t have any in the class. You are paying money so that those concepts that aren’t obvious to you, become obvious. You are paying above $5,000 so that you can ask these questions. The professors want you to ask questions, there is no such thing as a silly question, that’s a myth. This obviously doesn’t mean you can interrupt class ask questions about Game of Thrones. Also, your TAs and Professors, will hold office hours, use those timings to clear all your doubts to be it assignments or lectures. Sometimes, even when you don’t have doubts, go to office hours especially before the midterm to watch other people asking doubts. This will help you learn.
  8. Take notes, not everything will be there on the lecture slides. This is because there will be people who will never attend lectures if this were the case.
  9. Attend classes regularly, there will be classmates who you will see only during the exams. Just because they are making a bad choice doesn’t mean you need to. As I said before, not everything will be in the lecture slides. You pay to learn from the Professional who has come in to teach a bunch of eager students wanting to learn, the last thing they want to see is that half the class have decided to go AWOL, which just means that searing passion and interest you talked about in your Statement of Purpose just went AWOL too. Also, it is kind of disrespectful towards the Professor. You wouldn’t have attendance for most of the courses but inform them, at least for the sake of being courteous, if you can’t make it.
  10. Work Hard, if you follow this tip alone, you don’t need to worry about all the above. Study regularly, you will see the results. RIT is a university where students who work hard will not be let down.
    Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Why should I do a bridge course? 

A. You do a bridge course because you didn’t pass the waiver exam, which means you aren’t prepared for the actual graduate level courses which will be more difficult than bridge courses. Imagine a scenario where there were no bridge courses, many people end up struggling in the graduate level courses, some of them fail the courses and decide to drop out of the program altogether because they didn’t have sufficient foundation. Disastrous scenario! You may think about decreasing the difficulty of the coursework, this would lead to a decrease in the quality of the content being thought, which the professors would never agree on. Students to RIT because of the quality of the coursework, you don’t want the quality to go down. Quality is what you are paying for. To avoid such a scenario, the bridge courses were designed.

Q. But but, I have tons of experience and have already done all these in my undergrad?

A. Then you can pass the bridge waiver. Also, let me tell you a real-world example, I know a senior who had 7 years of Software Development experience, worked in a fortune 100 company, still didn’t pass one of the bridge course and retake it. Now, he works full time at Microsoft. This is what he said, “The bridge courses where really an eye opener, I would have definitely failed poorly in the higher level grad level courses without them.”, I had this conversation with him when I joined RIT. He also said that without the bridge course, professors might have toned down the difficulty level and hence, the overall quality of the other advanced courses, especially in a scenario where if many students aren’t well prepared for it or most of them might end up withdrawing or failing the course.

Q. But I have heard the waiver exam is difficult to clear?

A. That’s standard the Computer Science Department has set for you, they want students to be at that level before they go into the higher level graduate courses. That’s the standard your professors want you to be at.

Q. What are the advantages of taking the Bridge Course?

A. Ah! Now you have started asking the right question. The main advantage is you will be well prepared for your advanced courses. The bridge course will also give you the time to settle in a new place and a new country if you are an international student. Apart from that, bridge courses will be directly helpful in your interviews. Trust me, this is something that almost every CS will agree on. Also, remember that Bridge Course GPA is counted towards your final CGPA and scholarships. Your bridge courses will be much much easier than your higher grad level courses, getting a solid GPA in your bridge semester and will also help you boost your scholarship.

Q. Can I do the bridge courses any time during my tenure at RIT?

A. No, you cannot. Whatever bridge course you have been assigned must be completed during the first semester. Unless you get special permission from the program director.

Q. Can I do another subject along with the bridge courses? 

A. Depends on how many bridge courses you cleared using the waiver exam. If you have cleared zilch, you would most likely not be allowed to do more than 3 subjects during the first semester, hence you cannot. If you have cleared one or two or all of them, set up a meeting with the program director and ask on how you should proceed, he will be able to provide proper guidance, since it is your first semester.

Q. What chances do I have of clearing the waiver exam? 

A. It depends on your skill-set. Very few people clear it, but I believe the fact the many of my senior passed down this idea that only a few people can clear it, sort of acted as a mental barrier and people kind of gave up before they attempted the exam or just didn’t take it seriously thinking that they would not be able to clear it. Remember, the mountains are there to be climbed. I will tell you this, you prepare well and work hard, you can clear the waiver exam. Just think of it as your final exam (or the board exam as they used to call it in my country) and give it a real shot. Remember even if you don’t pass the waiver exam, having a solid preparation for it will give you a head start for the bridge course.

Q. Can I waive the course off by taking it in some other university or institution? 

A. You still would need to give the bridge waiver exam and clear it. If you don’t, you still have to take the bridge course for the first semester. So basically, it doesn’t change anything.

Q.  I am switching my major to Computer Science, how should I handle the bridge courses?

A. Don’t worry, I was in your shoe, I am not a complete nerd and I did well. You can do it too, probably even better than me. Try and get some idea of the materials you are going to learn before the start of the semester. Read every day, manage your time and don’t over stress yourself.

ConnectNY – consortium of libraries.

Q. What books should I buy?

A. Honestly, you don’t need to buy one. I never did. You can get one from the library. If the book is not currently available, use the ConnectNY program at the Wallace Library to borrow books from libraries of other universities that are also a part of the ConnectNY program. ConnectNY is a consortium of libraries in New York. You can use your wallace library RIT account for the ConnectNY. Make sure for any course you take, you have check with both RIT and ConnectNY before you buy one.

Q. I am struggling with the bridge course, what can I do? 

A. Work harder! Use the professors’ office hours to work on your problems and clear your doubts. Use the mentoring center. Get some good sleep and eat well.

Q. But the entire class is struggling?

A. This is a rare case. If this happens, talk to your professor as a group. He will deal with it.

Q. I heard professors might sometimes curve your grades, is this true?

A. Erase this from your mind this instant. You rarely get curves for the bridge courses. There was this myth floating around during my first semester that professors will curve if many people are struggling. Many people did poorly in their first midterm and hoped for a curve. Most of them had to retake the entire course because guess what? There was no curve. You perform badly, you have to acknowledge it and work on it. Simple. My roommate missed an A by 0.2 and would have got 40% scholarship if he had an A. He asked the professor for a curve, he got shut down.

Q. Do I have to choose my specialization or cluster in my first semester?

A. No, you don’t, you won’t and you can’t, unless you have a passed all the waiver exams. Also, there is no predefined thing such as choosing a cluster, it like a metaphor. The simple rule is that if you want to do a particular specialization, you have to do the prerequisite foundation/introduction course from that cluster. If you don’t do that, you cannot take other courses from that cluster and this applies to all clusters.

Q. When is the bridge waiver exam? 

A. You will get an email about it. It’s usually after graduate student orientation and before the CS orientation.

Q. How is the registration for the bridge courses done?

A. The registration for the bridge courses will be done by the Computer Science department. This is an exception for only the bridge courses. Hence, you won’t get to choose professors for the bridge courses alone.

I hope, this post answers a majority of your question on bridge courses. As I said I will be providing you with the links here. Have fun and also study hard!

Bridge Test information: http://spiegel.cs.rit.edu/~hpb/public_html/Bridge/

Resources:

CSCI-661: Foundations of Computer Theory – Book

CSCI-605  Advanced Object Oriented PRogramming: http://spiegel.cs.rit.edu/~hpb/Lectures/2181/605/index.html, Java Docs

CSCI-603 – Computational Problem Solving: http://interactivepython.org/runestone/static/pythonds/index.html

Mentoring Center: https://www.cs.rit.edu/getting-help

RIT Library Database and ConnectNY

Korean BBQ in Rochester!

Ever since I moved to Rochester I have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of restaurants that I feel obligated to try. There is so much variety, whether you’re looking for African food, Asian food, Spanish food, there are so many unique and locally owned restaurants to get your fix of diverse offerings. A cuisine that I had been wanting to dive into for a while but wasn’t sure where to start: Korean food. Fortunately for me, there are several places in the Rochester area alone that could fulfill my cravings. I decided to check out Seoul House on West Henrietta road, and I wasn’t disappointed. When we went, it was actually late at night just an hour before they were set to close. But the staff was as kind and accommodating as ever. The decor is beautiful; the inside has a lot of wood accents and beautiful plants placed throughout the waiting and dining area. We were greeted warmly as soon as we arrived, and I noticed throughout the meal, several different staff members came to check on us, look at the baby, and engage with us in a way that you don’t experience in most restaurants. The waitstaff was attentive, very detailed in explaining every dish, and helped us navigate what felt like an endless stream of options at our disposal. In the end, we decided on the Korean

Grilling beef and onions!

barbecue option for two, where they provide you with a whole spread of condiments, pickled vegetables, onions to grill, and of course, beef, chicken, and shrimp to grill on the table. Generally when you go out to eat, you don’t want to cook. But my wife and I had a lot of fun grilling everything. We went a little crazy and started grilling the vegetables too. Pro tip: grill the beef short rib inside of the onion, it will give it a very complex flavor as everything caramelizes. They made it easy for us in terms of preparation, everything was pre-cut and seasoned, we just had to place it on the grill and char it to our desired level of doneness. Several varieties of kimchi were waiting for us and we combined the condiments with everything we had grilled for a truly unique flavor. I can’t speak for the other Korean restaurants in the area, but if you’re looking for a place to try out the cuisine for the first time, Seoul House would be the place to go. They have the friendliest staff, a ton of options, and their food is seasoned so well. We had a wonderful experience there and can’t wait to go back again.

 

myRITStory – DRISHTI BHANDARI

Program: Metals and Jewelry Design, MFA

The journey from NIFT, India to RIT was endearing as Drishti recalls it. Coming from a jewelry-design background wanting to acquire more expertise in her field, Drishti made a conscious decision to join RIT’s Master of Fine Arts program in Metals and Jewelry Design, one of the most reputed metal design programs in the entire country.

“I always have people curiously coming up to me asking questions about my program as a majority of them come mostly from engineering and computing backgrounds”, says Drishti. “They find it brave and challenging to pursue a field so unique and unheard of”.

Having her jewelry pieces represented at India’s reputed fashion shows, it was time for Drishti to explore further into the field and acquire higher professional standing in her field. After extensive research, she chose RIT because of the impressively designed curriculum and the exposure provided by the department. She was taken aback by the composition of the curriculum that provides broad exposure to metalworking techniques, promises expanded knowledge of applied design, strong perceptual and philosophical concepts and helps develop an individual mode of expression, facilitating her to practically implement her theoretical knowledge from her under graduation into the creation of intricate models. With an existing impressive portfolio, she believed that an advanced degree from RIT and assistance from industry-renowned professors were sure to guarantee her immense success in the design field.

Drishti plans on making the most of her experience at RIT. Along with the comprehensive coursework that requires long and arduous hours in the ceramics and metals lab, she juggles between schoolwork and a fun job at the Brick City Café and believes it is a great way to meet new people and make ends meet as well. From late hours in the lab crafting beautiful designs with her own hands, she believes that the hands-on experience is providing her with a more detailed outlook in the metal design field.

“People back home are scared to pursue their interests in fields that are unheard of because of the stringent rules back here in the US. However, if an individual is determined enough to work for something that they truly love, success comes easy. I would not have found a better place to learn and hone my skills than at RIT amongst the best peers and faculty.”

Lastly, Drishti considers that choosing Rochester Institute of Technology turned out to be a much better decision than she expected. She believes that although it has been one of the toughest things she has had to do, at the end of the day she loves every second of it!